A small group of teenagers and adults gathered for prayer yesterday in front of the White House. The young adults came from across America to pray for the president, specifically that he would choose pro-life Supreme Court justices. They began their prayer session across the street from the White House.
"We'll pray here," Brandi Swindell, of Generation Life told the group. "Then after that we will go across the street and kneel in prayer, and there are some members of our group that are willing to peacefully risk arrest." That area closer to the White House is a restricted zone. The public is allowed to walk through, but not stop for long.
As they prayed there, the U.S. Park Police moved in and roped off the area. The officers warned them three times to move.
This has been reported in the news that these individuals were being "persecuted for their faith." That is not the case. Read the article again - closely. There is much wrong with it, as this article by Steve Camp points out.
It is not against the law to pray in America. It is not against the law to pray in Washington, DC. It is not against the law to pray in front of the White House. It is against the law to stop for an extended period of time in front of the White House. Everyone should understand this, especially in the day we live. It seems this group went to Washington for the express purpose of getting arrested. They should be congratulated on accomplishing their goals.
According to reports, the officers apparently warned them three times to move on, but they would not. At one point, Lt. Pat Smith of the U.S. Park Police announced to the group over a bull horn: "You must leave the enclosed portion of the White House sidewalk now. All persons remaining in the enclosed portion of the White House sidewalk will be arrested." We know what happened next. They were arrested but not for being a Christian. They were arrested for breaking the law and being insubordinate to the authorities.
This is shameful. This group of believers blatantly disregarded the words of the apostle Paul, who told us in Romans 13, where he writes:
1 Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.According to Paul, these individuals were not "standing up for Christ." They were bringing dishonor to His name by willingly rebelling against the practical and reasonable law that keeps our President safe.
2 Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.
They disobeyed the words of Jesus. Christ told us in Matthew 6:5-6 that:
5 "When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.Is there any doubt that prayer seems to be a pretense for garnering attention to their cause? If they were serious about praying for the President, they could do that at any time and in any place. There is no special dispensation that comes from proximity to the White House.
6 "But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
In I Peter 2, the apostle gives us another command that this group rebelliously cast aside:
13 Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority,You might be tempted to think that this is a biblical case of civil disobedience. It is not. The ONLY time a Christian can usurp the authority of the government is when the government is forcing you to do something Christ condemned or the government forces us to stop doing something that Christ commanded. For example, if the government told us that it was illegal to pray, we would have to disobey and continue praying.
14 or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.
15 For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.
16 Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.
However, this group was not arrested for praying. They were arrested for being in the wrong place for too long and disregarding the directions of the security forces. They could have obeyed the authorities and moved back across the street and continued to pray.
The members of this group are being held up as admirable men and women standing firmly and strongly for the Christian cause. To the more discerning mind, they got what they deserved.